Russian Federation expels 23 British diplomats as crisis over nerve toxin attack deepens

Information Center of the Central Election Commission in Moscow

The March 4 attack in the English city of Salisbury left ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in critical condition.

He described the March 4 attempted assassination of the ex-spy as a "very sad situation".

While there is no evidence yet to link his killing to the Skripals' case, police said they were "keeping an open mind" because of Glushkov's nationality and his association with Boris Berezovsky, a Russian oligarch and Putin critic who died under disputed circumstances in 2013.

But congressional critics called the administration's action a woefully inadequate retaliation for Russian Federation interference in the 2016 US election and other actions.

British police said there is no apparent link between the attack on Glushkov and the poisoning of the Skripals, but both have raised alarm in the West at a time when Russian Federation is increasingly assertive on the global stage and facing investigations over alleged interference in the Donald Trump's election as US president.

The joint statement says "there is no plausible alternative explanation" and "Russia's failure to address the legitimate request by the government of the United Kingdom further underlines Russia's responsibility". Russian Federation denies interfering in the election.

FILE - FSB headquarters, the grey building at center, in downtown Moscow, Dec. 30, 2016.

Bristow told reporters: "We will always do what is necessary to defend ourselves, our allies and our values against an attack of this sort, which is an attack not only on the United Kingdom, but upon the worldwide rules-based system on which all countries, including Russian Federation, depend for their safety and security", according to The Associated Press.

Russia's response was more robust than expected. "We've got to figure out some way to curtail their malign activities, whether it's cyber or otherwise", Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, a member of the Armed Services and Judiciary committees, told VOA.

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Britain called the emergency meeting to rally support in its standoff with Russian Federation over the attack that British Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen said was "state-sponsored".

Leahy also told VOA that the administration's response remained unsatisfactory, "but even a little bit is better than nothing".

Trump spoke to reporters after his administration announced new sanctions on Russian entities for meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election. "These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russian Federation".

Thursday's action blocks all property of those targeted that is subject to USA jurisdiction and prohibits American citizens from engaging in transactions with them.

A senior administration told reporters on a conference call that Russian actors infiltrated parts of the USA energy sector.

Russian government hackers since at least March 2016 "have also targeted USA government entities and multiple US critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors", a Treasury Department statement said.

Russia, which denies any involvement in the incident, condemned May's decision as unacceptable and vowed a swift response. The U.S. said that attack disrupted global shipping, trade and the production of medicines, and prevented the creation of electronic records at several U.S. hospitals for more than a week.

US President Donald Trump had pressed Russian Federation to provide answers but did not suggest that Moscow had a hand in the attempted murder.

"It is possible that (Britain) will continue to respond; we are ready for this".

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